Political Intelligence and Insider Trading

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The reports of rogue lobbyists in Washington, DC gaining illegal insider information under the guise of political intelligence causes Alan Simpson, a leading geopolitical intelligence author to question their successes, and to suggest companies beware of using lobbyists for gathering corporate intelligence.

A lot of publicity is again being generated about Political Intelligence and Insider Trading by greedy Lobbyists. In the effort to expose a handful of rogue players the essential services of legitimate political intelligence analysts and authors are put at risk. Every major corporation needs political intelligence to determine the strength of the regulatory foundations before they begin building on a new project or venture. What appears bedrock under one Congressional Chairman can turn out to be quicksand under another. Corporations, especially those in defense, homeland security, telecommunications and pharma are now realizing, as Hedge Funds did a long time ago, that politicians are either their biggest benefactor, or their worst enemy.

Alan Simpson, a leading Washington Political Intelligence Author comments, "Like the whole competitive intelligence debate the line between espionage and ethical information gathering is often ill defined, and much that was normal under Delay will be considered illegal under Pelosi. The problem is that with $10,000 a month for real time intelligence analysis per client, and often up to $50,000 and above, political information gathering has attracted both the big and the rogue lobbyists. Rumors abound of visits to lawmakers and Committee Chairmen with "Contributions", in return for information they believe will give their clients financial or competitive advantage. Their success record is suspect, for although they seek to deliver inside information to some clients, many have other multi million dollar clients seeking to influence the same decisions. Thus passing on any negative information to the marketplace could cost their firms dearly. This is the conflict of interest scenario now causing so many problems for Congress and K Street. How can you give clients fair advice when you have a horse in the race?"

But are those cases of nonconsecutive $20 bills really needed? The information passed in parking garages and bathrooms to Lobbyists usually becomes public a relative short time later anyway, or can be deduced from first hand interviews across a number of committee members, their staffs and the media. It only tends to benefit time sensitive shady stock transactions and financial deals. The average bureaucratic lag in Fortune 500 companies means the illegal information is in the public domain before they finish discussing it, and long before they take action.

Alan Simpson is author of The Simpson Report, formerly ComLinks Intelligence Magazine, Executive Producer of Spy Games and Spy School, the corporate role playing and simulation programs, and host of the famous Spies Cafe programs in Washington, DC. He draws on experience in over 80 countries, and 25 years leadership in international OSINT and global media.


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